ATLANTA – A former Statesboro city councilman was sentenced to 33 months in prison Monday for evading taxes on income from bars he co-owned.

Will Britt, a member of the council from 2004 through 2015 now living in Bluffton, South Carolina, and a group of business partners owned various bars near college campuses in several Georgia communities, while claiming each bar was owned by a single individual, according to court documents and statements in federal court.

He and the other co-owners skimmed cash from the bars and disbursed it among themselves in accordance with their ownership percentages without reporting that income to the IRS.

To complete the fraud scheme, Britt personally ensured that some of the nominal owners of the bars filed false tax returns. He also provided false information to an accountant who prepared tax returns related to some of the businesses.

Specifically, Britt misrepresented the businesses’ true ownership, underreported the bars’ income, and omitted cash distributions to the owners. This conduct enabled him and the other true owners of the bars to file tax returns that omitted their full income tax liabilities.

In addition to the prison term, Chief Judge J. Randal Hall of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia ordered Britt to serve three years of supervised release and pay more than $352,000 in restitution.

Britt pleaded guilty to the charges in April.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.